Miami could not overcome a 27-0 route by Houston in the first half, as the Phins playoff chances dissolve into false hopes.
Houston Texans (27) @ Miami Dolphins (20)
To say that Miami (7-8) got started off on the wrong foot is an understatement. Houston (8-7) dominated the first half, jumping out to a 27-0 lead, scoring on their first five possessions. Miami made a valiant comeback effort, but ultimately fell short, 27-20.
The Texans dominated the Phins right out of the gate. Houston head coach Gary Kubiak made a critical decision to go for it on fourth and one early in the game that paid off with a Matt Schaub touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. That kept the momentum alive for the Texans, who continued to respond until Miami finally hit a field goal to get on the board late in the second quarter.
Miami’s comeback effort was strong, and if not for a careless penalty on a long touchdown pass, the Dolphins actually had a chance to pull off another come from behind victory. But for the second week in a row, Miami came up short and now need an incredible amount of help in week seventeen to pull of a wildcard spot.
The Texans, attempting to make their first NFL postseason appearance, used that as fuel to take the massive first half lead to bury the Phins early. Houston did what they could to hold onto the ballgame in the second half, though it was all Miami after that incredible start from the Texans. But unfortunately for the Phins, it was too little, too late.
Chad Henne did what he could to bring the Phins back into the game, despite losing Ricky Williams to a shoulder injury in the second half. Henne rallied the troops and ended up with over 300 yards passing, but that massive lead by the Texans was too much to overcome.
Miami has a chance to now end the season on a high note against Pittsburgh, a team that is attempting to make a playoff run as well, and finish at 8-8. Miami will surely not make the playoffs this season considering the wildcard scenarios, but they do have an excellent crop of young players to build on for next year.
Henne gives Miami a great young quarterback to build off of for the future, and if a couple things had fallen into place for the Dolphins this season, they would’ve been playoff bound. But the close losses to good teams this year can be used as confidence builders for next season, and Miami will without a doubt be a team to reckon with this time next year.
Considering the injuries amounted by the Phins this year, from losing Chad Pennington to Ronnie Brown to being forced to start two young corners; it was a successful year for Miami. Without a doubt, the Phins would love to have those last two games back, and if they had played with the intensity they displayed in the second half of those ballgames throughout the entire game, they would’ve been pushing New England for the division. But for the Dolphins, this season will end as a plethora of would’ve could’ves.
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Written by Josh Souder